Classroom chaos can be found at the Fringe

17th August 2012 at 01:00
This year, teachers' and schools' eccentricities come under the spotlight

There is no escaping the classroom at the Edinburgh Fringe this year - the 2012 programme is peppered with shows inspired by schools' idiosyncrasies and teachers' foibles.

Former English teacher Mark Grist has attracted more than 2 million YouTube hits to watch him defeat a teenage grime artist in a rap battle. Rogue Teacher (Underbelly, Cowgate, 5.10pm, until 26 August) recalls, through droll performance poetry, why he quit his job in the middle of a recession to embark on a series of bizarre challenges.

Another pedagogue by trade, Mark Cooper-Jones, says the aim of his Geography Teacher show (Cabaret Voltaire, 3.50pm, until 24 August) is "not so much to question the stereotypes surrounding this most fabled of professions, as to emphatically reinforce them". Elbow pads are to be expected, he advises.

The pressure to do well at school provides the humour in Detention (Summerhall, 1pm, until 26 August), a riotous physical comedy from Hong Kong that pits childhood exuberance against adult authority, and sees routine classroom activities take on extraordinary new forms. It is a non- verbal show, and the rising sense of chaos requires no translation.

The interactive Back to School (Pleasance at Braidwood Centre, 1.30pm and 4pm, until 26 August) promises - threatens? - to throw the audience back into the maelstrom of their schooldays, including life drawing and dissection classes, and "amusingly agonising assemblies". The same "bonkers cast of teachers" is running its own school disco at the venue (10pm, 18 and 25 August), at which "unruly conduct will not go unpunished".

Educating Ronnie (Assembly George Square, 1.15pm, until 26 August) is a more serious proposition - a solo piece in which Joe Douglas recalls the friendship he struck up with local boy Ronnie while on a gap year in Uganda. Ronnie later asked Joe, back at home in Stockport, England, to send him pound;20 a month to complete his O levels. Joe ended up subsidising university, food, hospital fees, even a bribe to the police. This drama is billed as an exploration of "how good intentions can easily become guilty burdens".

School Night (Just the Tonic at the Caves, midnight, 20-22 August) is a late-night comedy club in London taking up temporary residence in Edinburgh, while Alternative Sex Education (The Bongo Club, 8.30pm, last performance tonight) sees a "queer feminist burlesque collective" promising tales of terrible sex education, both school-based and otherwise.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today